Posted in math

Bringing play to Kindergarten with SumBlox… hopefully.

I had a lightbulb moment at the end of my 10th year of teaching kindergarten (and 13th year teaching overall)… I was seriously lacking in play in my classroom. Yes, my students had fun centers they loved and it felt like play a little… but they are 5 and 6 years old. They need more playtime.

Kids these days are so caught up in technology, it seems – iPhones and tablets are making it so they lack social awareness. They get “bored” because they never have to be bored – they’re handed technology to help distract them instead of being forced to socialize or entertain themselves. A lot of my kids weren’t working together nicely so I brought in free choice centers, including a play kitchen I borrowed from another room, and for the first time… I let them play at the end of the day.

This inspired me to find more ways to play and I spent the end of the school year brainstorming new activities I could find for them. And then I found SumBlox:

SumBlox are wood blocks in the shape of numbers, but the twist is that each number block gets larger as it increases. They can be stacked on top of each other so that three number 1 blocks are the same height as the number 3. How cool is that, and what a fun way to learn about addition.

They can also just be used to build, and I can imagine students asking for certain blocks by using the number, “can you pass the number 6?” It would be a fun way to get kids more comfortable with the names of numbers, which is something some of my students struggled with this year.

To help me purchase these blocks, I’ve started a Donor’s Choose project. I’m looking for donations to help me reach my goal of having an educational set of these for my classroom. I KNOW these blocks will be the favorite of my students for years to come and will be used daily, if not multiple times a day, in so many ways. Not only will it help with numbers, but it will help students learn to use their imagination, cooperatively play and socialize. The benefits of these blocks are numerous… but I can’t do it without help.

If you could please click here to visit my Donor’s Choose project and make a donation, my class and I would really appreciate it. ANY donation will help. Sharing my project on social media would also help me too.

Thank you so much, and my class next year… and classes for years to come… thank you too.

Posted in math, teachers pay teachers

Sweet Summer Measurement with mini erasers!

So I love mini erasers. LOVE them. The obsession is real. So now that I collect every mini eraser that exists for every month/season… I need a reason to use them, right? Especially these adorable summer PINEAPPLE themed erasers, and especially now that, thanks to a bunch of snow days, I’m teaching til mid-June for the first time ever.

IMG_2658So I did! I decided they could be used as measurement tools and I made some summer themed measuring cards to go with them! The red lines are so that the students can easily identify which way they’re supposed to measure and when they should STOP measuring! 🙂

IMG_2670I also made the cards in black and white so they can be easily printed on color cardstock, for those that don’t want to/can’t print in color (though seriously, HP instant ink is the best invention ever and I think every teacher should be using it!)

IMG_2659Weren’t able to find the erasers? Well, first of all I totally understand – my Target never got any and I had to do a lot of begging before kind, generous people send me some… but also… I made paper rulers to go with this. That way your class can still use those fun pineapples, popsicles and rainbows to measure. Oh and if you have other mini erasers, those could totally be used too.

IMG_2668Need a recording sheet? It comes with one! Personally, I plan on writing the answers on the back and letting students just check their work (because I don’t like dealing with so many worksheets) but if you want to hold students accountable, you can!

img_2661Just keep in mind that erasers come in all sizes so students may come up with different answers, based on the size of the erasers they’re using.

Slide21Want your own? It’s available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store, or just click on the image above to get it!

Now I’m starting to think about other mini eraser measurement activities I could make… gotta put all those erasers to use!

Posted in math, organization

Math Toolkit Binders

Recently someone asked me if I would make binders to match my Math Toolkits. This person was using a curriculum that had a lot of regular sized paper mats for partner games and other activities – she wanted to hole punch them and put them in binders for her students to use. What a great idea!

So I made some, to match both my original toolkits and the ink saving versions!

With some spine labels too!

This is going to make passing out math supplies EVEN easier, and once a binder is created, it should be good to go for years to come.

Check them out at my TPT store by clicking on the image below:


Posted in math, teachers pay teachers

Hundreds Chart Puzzles

This summer has been one where I’ve spent most of it working on stuff for next year. That’s not really typical for me, usually I try not to think about work all summer long. But I’m excited because I think this means I’ll really be ready for the upcoming school year. I hope so anyway! 

I’m so tickled by my latest product because it was something that I wanted to find early in the summer. Then one night it just came to me – make your own! And so I did. 🙂
One of the skills I try to work on with my students is writing their numbers to 100. It isn’t required, they only need to write to 20, but I try to challenge the ones that can and start preparing the rest for first grade. I have to admit though, I’m not great at practicing with my kids and at the end of last year I wondered if a Hundreds Chart puzzle would help. They could start seeing the patterns in the chart, recognizing the numbers… all important skills.

The bonus? It’s NOT yet another boring worksheet for them to fill out. It’ll be fun for them, most kids like doing puzzles, plus puzzles lead to good problem solving skills. And if I have them working with a partner, then that’s even better – they’ll have to learn to work WITH someone else. All important.

So, as goes the trend this summer, I made some. There are 13 puzzles in this download, perfect for back to school – the pictures include school supplies, fall and basic shapes. I made two copies of each puzzle, one in color and one in ink saving black and white – no need to choose what file to pick, everything is all together this time. Print on cardstock (I would print the black and white pages on colored cardstock), laminate and cut out.

You can make them as hard or as easy as you want, focusing on certain numbers or patterns. I love that I’ll be able to differentiate for those students that are brand new at puzzles and the ones that are pros.

If you’re interested in purchasing my Hundreds Chart Puzzles, they’re currently on sale, thanks to the Best Year Ever sale. Click below and don’t forget to add the code bestyear to save even more on your purchase!



Posted in math, teachers pay teachers

Where it all started… math toolkits!

It all started because I saw these online:13692663_10154854378975400_3503101806531971359_n

They’re called Iris photo and craft keepers, it’s a kit that has 16 4×6″ boxes (meant to hold photos). I thought they were cute and wanted a reason to buy them. And then I had it: math toolkits!

Last year the curriculum I used for math had me passing out materials to my kids every day. The same things: first five frames, which eventually turned into ten frames. Plus 10 snap cubes each. Some days we used dry erase crayons (I am the only person in the teaching world that prefers the crayons but that’s okay). It all took a long time to pass out to kindergartners: they would want to pick out their favorite color, get upset that they couldn’t have their favorite color… take one, pass it down is hard for 5 and 6 year olds. Between getting everything handed out and putting everything away, this easily ate up 10 minutes of my math time.

That’s where my math toolkits came in. I like having my students work in partners so each pair of students will share a box. In the box they will have:

13659178_10154854376265400_5379337356896112695_nSnap cubes, tens frames, number lines, popsicle sticks (practicing tally marks), dry erase crayon and eraser (the round facial scrubber), dice and base ten blocks (really paper cut outs I found).

Now will everything be in the box all the time? No. In fact, I prepped my boxes for the beginning of the year and all they have are five frames, ten frames and snap cubes. Things will go in and out of the boxes as the year goes by. But it’s nice to know it all fits nice and neat:


I envision starting the year off with a few materials and teaching them how to care for their boxes. I labeled everything in their kit with their kit # on the back so that we know where things go if they are accidentally left out. Since I teach math right after lunch (and we eat in the classroom), I can even picture my helpers passing the math toolkits on the carpet squares while we’re tidying up.

13709752_10154854376115400_1169871015173687160_nIt also helps that they are just adorable. Okay, I’m a bit proud of myself. 🙂

IMG_6030Easily stowable. A place for everything, of course.

If you’re interested, or want to see more, check it out on Teachers Pay Teachers by clicking on the image below.

Or I also have an ink saver version here:


But wait, I also have a bundle that could save you money! Click below to learn about my bundle, or stick around… that’s a post for another day. 🙂

Slide1.jpgWant more? Check out my teacher pay teachers store by clicking on the image below:

Posted in math, teachers pay teachers, teaching pineapples

Interactive Math Notebooks – no cut, no prep!

A few years ago I started using interactive math notebooks with my kids. I love them, and I especially love showing them off to parents – they love seeing all their work together in one place, and watching their progress and growth.

But. At the beginning of the year I typically have a few students that have a hard time cutting, if they’ve ever even held scissors before. They get way too glue-happy. They spend 20 minutes working on something that shouldn’t even take 10. My aide would spend a lot of time cutting things out/prepping and that frustrated me (and probably her too, I bet!). I needed no cut/no prep interactive notebooks.


So… I made some. I really had fun with this one, thinking of all the different activities I wanted my kinders to practice at the beginning of the year. Most of it, for me, is getting them into the routine of math notebooks. I figure, the more complicated stuff can come later.


I felt like the basics were important – numbers to 10, counting and writing. Coloring is important, for so many reasons! I also included shapes, graphing, color words, tens frames, dominoes… the list goes on. This could even be used for the beginning of first grade, as a quick review.


I kept the pages pretty simple so they’re not distracting… But they’re still cute and functional.


And they fit nicely in a standard composition notebook. Easy as pie. My aide doesn’t have to spend ages prepping and I don’t have to stress about students cutting and gluing. Phew.

And this package is currently quite the steal! It’s available for 25% off until tonight only. $3 for over 3 weeks of activities… wow! Check it out by clicking on the picture below!